De Jager trial: slain prostitute hidden

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Murder accused Johannes de Jager in the Western Cape High Court. Photo: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Prostitute Hiltina Alexander’s body was found lying face up, covered by leafy branches, in a secluded area near the Frankdale informal settlement off the N7.

Captain Michael Volkwyn, who was stationed at Philadelphia near Atlantis, told the Western Cape High Court he was called after a passer-by found Alexander’s body.

She had been raped twice and murdered on May 18, 2008, allegedly by Ruyterwacht mechanic Johannes de Jager, who is also on trial for the murder of Charmaine Mare, 16, in Kraaifontein this year.

Volkwyn said he found forensic investigators and a police photographer already combing the bushy area close to a footpath that led to the informal settlement.

“Hiltina was clothed in camouflage pants that were partially pulled down, and… a dark-coloured sleeveless top. The body was covered entirely with dry branches. When the body was turned over, I saw blood on the back of her head and on the grass and soil,” said Volkwyn, the first of at least five investigating officers who handled the case. He traced Alexander’s mother to Elsies River and found her friends.

Colin Jacobs, the State’s first witness, was instrumental in De Jager’s arrest on June 3, 2008.

He testified that he was with Alexander, 18, shortly before she went missing and last saw her get into De Jager’s white Ford bakkie. Two weeks later he saw the bakkie in Epping Avenue and called Volkwyn, who arrested De Jager.

De Jager has admitted that he picked Alexander up in his bakkie but said he dropped her at a flat in Parow for another man known only as Johan. He denies raping and murdering her.

Volkwyn had taken a warning statement from De Jager a day after his arrest. “Because Hiltina was found in an area where prostitution is a problem, I wanted to make sure if De Jager was familiar with the area. That’s why I asked him specifically of the turn-off to Van Schoorsdrift Road (near Philadelphia), where he confirmed his brother stayed,” Volkwyn said.

Evidence detailing the January 11 murder of Charmaine has not yet been led in court. De Jager has denied killing her but admitted that he dismembered her.

In his plea explanation, he said Charmaine must have died after she slipped on a bath mat and hit her head against the edge of the bath.

He panicked and “foolishly” hid her body in a drain outside a house in Kraaifontein and later, to get her out, cut off her limbs. Charmaine’s scorched torso was found in an isolated field three days after the murder.

Volkwyn is expected to be cross-examined today.

Cape Argus

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